Arizona Christian wins 253-pt hoops game in double OT

Arizona Christian University just put together enough footage for a highlight reel for this year’s basketball season – all in one game.

How about a game featuring 253 combined points?

And for the fan who gets his excitement from watching those long, rainbow shots that singe the nets from behind the arc… there were 36 three-pointers.

Five ACU players contributed 16 or more points as the little NAIA D-II college in Phoenix held on in a wild scoring spree for the 128-125 win in double-overtime.  Last night’s victory over Multnomah University gave the Firestorm its fifth straight win, and four in five nights.

The Arizona Christian men’s basketball team, which is made up almost entirely of local high school talent, isn’t normally an offensive jugernaut, averaging just over 68 points a game entering the Multnomah contest.

ACU, by necessity, recruits heavily in Arizona and the make-up of the basketball team reflects that emphasis on local talent.  All but two players on the 15-man roster are from local high schools.

Only two on the roster average double-digit scoring, Albert Suniga (15.9 ppg) and A.J. Koch (11.1).

But Suniga, a senior point guard from Tolleson Union High School, drained three treys to help him put together a team-high 29 points, and Joshua Cole from Westview High in Phoenix added a career-high 28 points.  Koch finished with 19 points.

Koch, a junior guard from Flowing Wells High School in Tucson, has been on a tear lately.  Including his 19 points last night, he has racked up 75 points in the last four games.

The 17 points contributed by Houston Friend, a senior guard from Scottsdale Christian Academy, was particularly significant since the four three-pointers he made took his career total to 203 – which broke the existing school record of 202.

ACU shot a sizzling 54.3 percent from the field and an equally hot 55.2 percent from three-point range, while also controlling the boards, out-rebounding Multnomah, 56-39.

But on the other side of the coin, the Firestorm had to overcome 20 turnovers and 60 percent shooting at the free throw line.

The recent win streak is a welcome relief for a team that is 6-13 on the season, with its first win back in early November when the Firestorm won the second game on the schedule.  The other win was another overtime challenge when they had to score 94 points to beat California State University – San Marcos.

Both overtime wins were on the road.  In fact, every win this season was away from home.

Now they have to find a way to win on their own court.  Six of the final seven games are in their own Fultz Gymnasium.

(Photo: ACU Athletics / Brooks Swigart)